Teachers know me. We attend football games, spaghetti dinners and the homecoming parade. Amara's coaches recognize me. And Amara and I know the student handbook so well, she cried.
But not until yesterday did I know Amara participated in practice lockdowns at school. In third grade. Third grade.
After the tragic events that unfolded just 60 miles east of our home, I knew I needed to talk to Amara about these lockdowns.
So I questioned what they did during these practice lockdowns. I pressed her to tell me why she thought they were important. Her response?
"In case a bad guy gets into our school."
And then I knew Amara was going to grow up just a little bit more today.
I mean, I've already stripped away her innocence by dragging her through a divorce. She's had to take care of me during the loss of my own Mom, her grandmother. Why not add to her angst.
So I began by asking if she remembered walking through Chardon Square with me. I reminded her who Sheriff Dan and his dog are.
Then I told her that sometimes the "bad guy" is a classmate. And I proceeded to tell her about yesterday's school shooting.
I instructed her to tell a teacher if she ever saw a student with a gun or other weapon at school. I pleaded with her to tell an adult if she ever saw on social media or received a text speaking of violence.
I told her sometimes other kids just suck.
She's eight. No eight year old should have to worry about this.
No Mom should have to worry about this.